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Google's Deceptive "one click away" Antitrust Defense -- Part VIII Google Antitrust Pinocchio Series

As reports swirl that the FTC and DOJ may be considering a formal antitrust investigation of Google, like the EU already launched in November 2010, Google continues its deceptive, one-dimensional, superficial, antitrust defense mantra that "competition is one click away," and that Google is only focused on users and innovation.

 

  • It is telling that just last week the FTC charged Google with deceptive privacy practices, and Google tacitly admitted its public deceptiveness and misrepresentation in submitting to the FCC's consent order; so I am not alone here in charging that Google is deceptive and misrepresents itself to the public.

 

So how is Google's antitrust defense deceptive?

First, Google's stale four-year antitrust mantra that competition is but a click away and Google puts users first, is deceptive because Google knows full well that competition and antitrust involves much more than just users -- as they claim -- but an entire competitive ecosystem.

 

  • Microsoft, in its antitrust complaint against Google in Europe last week, publicly explained how online competition involves many more dimensions of competition than just competition for users.
    • Google's "...defense ignores the hugely important fact that there are many other important ways that search services compete.  Search engines compete to index the Web as fully as possible so they can generate good search results, they compete to gain advertisers (the source of revenue in this business), and they compete to gain distribution of their search boxes through Web sites.  Consumers will not benefit from clicking to alternative sites unless all search engines have a fair opportunity to compete in each of these areas."

Second, Google deceptively misrepresents the antitrust investigative process by its self-serving framing that it is about whether Google benefits users and is innovative.

 

  • Google knows this is partly the truth... but not the whole truth and nothing but the truth... that they will have to follow when communicating with antitrust investigators or when in court -- where this ultimately may end up.
  • Google knows that their behavior can also harm users and competition, and that Google's behavior not only promotes Google innovation but that it can also harm the competitive innovation of others.

 

In sum, why Google's antitrust defense is deceptive and "goobristic" is that: Google is implicitly claiming that Google is better at serving users and promoting innovation than a competitive marketplace can serve users and promote innovation.

 

  • The problem with that goobristic view of antitrust and competition is that it ignores over a century of antitrust law and national consensus that competition is better for consumers and the Nation than an anti-competitive monopoly.

 

Good luck Google in trying to convince antitrust authorities and the Courts that Google is better, and knows better, than over a century of antitrust rule of law.

 

 

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Google Antitrust Pinocchio Series:

 

Part VII: Two fatal Flaws in Google's Antitrust Defense

Part VI: Fact-Checking Google's Antitrust Defense

Part V: "Google does not reap the benefits of significant network effects"

Part IV: Stress-Testing Google's Top Ten Antitrust Defenses

Part III: "Google-AdMob: 'Its too new to dominate'"

Part II: Google: Antitrust's Pinocchio?

Part I: What is "One click away?

 

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths